In Creating Vaccine Success Stories, Flu Shot Can’t Be Overlooked
By CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
August is National Immunization Awareness Month — led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — so it’s a good time to turn our personal attention to the incredible arsenal of life-saving vaccines we have at our disposal.
With our collective focus almost exclusively on COVID-19 vaccines right now, let’s not forget that flu season will soon be here as well. Last year, the flu shot was reassuring to many as it was a proactive step we could take to protect our well-being in a time of great uncertainty. Thanks to the power of the vaccine, combined with widespread mask use and physical distancing in place to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we ended up experiencing the mildest flu season on record.
It looks like we may not have the distancing or mask safeguards in widespread effect again this season, making your flu shot more important than ever. We have it within our power to curb infections on multiple fronts through the power of vaccinations.
And the benefits of a flu shot may have more far-reaching consequences than you think. The CDC reports that vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac events among people with heart disease, especially among those who had had a cardiac event in the past year. A new study out in PLOS One this month even found an association between flu vaccine status and better outcomes for COVID-19 patients.
GSA, in collaboration with the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association and AMDA, just last year completed a project focused on improving education and awareness of enhanced influenza vaccine products for those who are 65 and over. The partnership yielded some valuable fact sheets:
And remember, much like our shots to prevent COVID-19, flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick. Please help spread the word about these and many other benefits. Our front-line health care workers are counting on us to mobilize to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable disease. Thank you!